Friday, March 20, 2015

Will You Give This To My Daddy and R.E.D. Fridays

My aunt sent this story to me in an email. I did some searching to try to find the original story and I found where another blogger had posted it onto his blog. (To read Jason's blog click here.) I'm not sure if you can actually verify the original story but as you read in my last post, I know that people do want to honor our soldiers so I really am not doubting that these events didn't take place.

I have to warn you that you should grab a tissue, or two, before reading because you will need it by the time you are finished.
 "Will You Give This To My Daddy?" 
                 by John Parker

Last week I was in Atlanta, Georgia attending a conference. While I was in the airport, returning home, I heard several people behind me beginning to clap and cheer. I immediately turned around and witnessed one of the greatest acts of patriotism I have ever seen. 
Moving through the terminal was a group of soldiers in their camos. As they began heading to their gate, everyone (well almost everyone) was abruptly to their feet with their hands waving and cheering. 
 When I saw the soldiers, probably 30-40 of them, being applauded and cheered for, it hit me. I'm not alone. I'm not the only red-blooded American who still loves this country and supports our troops and their families. 
Of course I immediately stopped and began clapping for these young unsung heroes who are putting their lives on the line everyday for us so we can go to school, work and home without fear or reprisal. 
Just when I thought I could not be more proud of my country or of our service men and women, a young girl, not more than 6 or 7 years old, ran up to one of the male soldiers. He knelled down and said 'hi.' 

The little girl then asked him if he would give something to her daddy for her. 

The young soldier, who didn't look any older than maybe 22 himself, said he would try and what did she want to give to her Daddy. Then suddenly the little girl grabbed the neck of this soldier, gave him the biggest hug she could muster and then kissed him on the cheek. 
The mother of the little girl, who said her daughter's name was Courtney, told the young soldier that her husband was a Marine and had been in Iraq for 11 months now. As the mom was explaining how much her daughter Courtney missed her father, the young soldier began to tear up. 
When this temporarily single mom was done explaining her situation, all of the soldiers huddled together for a brief second. Then one of the other servicemen pulled out a military-looking walkie-talkie. They started playing with the device and talking back and forth on it.. 
After about 10-15 seconds of this, the young soldier walked back over to Courtney, bent down and said this to her, 'I spoke to your daddy and he told me to give this to you.' He then hugged this little girl that he had just met and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He finished by saying 'your daddy told me to tell you that he loves you more than anything and he is coming home very soon.'
The mom at this point was crying almost uncontrollably and as the young soldier stood to his feet, he saluted Courtney and her mom. I was standing no more than 6 feet away from this entire event. 
As the soldiers began to leave, heading towards their gate, people resumed their applause. As I stood there applauding and looked around, there were very few dry eyes, including my own. That young soldier in one last act of selflessness, turned around and blew a kiss to Courtney with a tear rolling down his cheek. 
We need to remember everyday all of our soldiers and their families and thank God for them and their sacrifices. At the end of the day, it's good to be an American.

photo found on U.S. Army Future Soldier Center Facebook Page


There is one way that you can help to remember our soldiers -- Friday's are R.E.D. Friday's (Remember Everyone Deployed). If you are interested in showing your support for our guys who are putting their lives on the line for us, I ask you to remember to wear red each and every Friday. 

Love from the Preacher and I

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Say Thank You

Last week the Preacher and I took a trip to attend our son and our Soldier's graduation from Basic and Infantry Training. 

The graduation was wonderful and very emotional! On the first day we attended the Turning Blue Ceremony where the Preacher had the honor of attaching the blue chord to our son's dress blues, signifying that he now was an Infantryman. The second day was the actual graduation where his entire company was paraded out on the open field where soil from every battlefield that we have fought upon was laid down and where so many men before him have marched. 

After the ceremonies our son was able to spend a few days with us. We spent a few hours shopping and sight seeing and of course we ate out for each of our meals.

On two occasions we were blessed by total strangers who either paid our entire check or bought dessert for our family.  On both occasions they expressed their gratitude for our son's willingness to serve his country.

You see this sort of thing happening in the news or someone might post a YouTube video where a man walks in a restaurant and someone picks up the bill all because that man was a veteran.  You watch, a tear might come to your eye, but you don't think about this happening in your own life.

The first time it happened we were at a McDonald's, we had just finished eating and were about to leave when a little boy came up to us and asked us not to leave yet because his mom wanted to do something for us. She then came up with a sack of Apple pies, one for each of us. She explained her husband was in the military and she understood what we as a family were going through. She wanted her son to experience giving back to a fellow soldier.

The second time it happened we were at a BBQ restaurant. We had driven downtown to the old historical part of the town after attending church. The restaurant was full, people eating out after Sunday church. We ate our meal, we ordered dessert and was about to ask the waitress for our tab when she explained that a lady had seen us and then asked to pay our entire bill. The lady told our waitress to tell our son thank you for serving his country. We asked who it was that had done this wonderful thing because we wanted to thank her but she said the lady had already left. 

On both occasions I cried, not just a little tear rolling down my cheek, no, I mean I cried! It was even hard for me to stop crying. How sweet, how generous were these people, that they would pay for our meal, and that they would take the time to notice us from across the room. Our son is a little uncomfortable wearing his ACU's in public, but it is an honor and when you see a soldier it reminds you of their strength and commitment to the nation they serve.  

I'm asking you now, if you see someone in uniform or if you know that a person is or has fought for our country and for you, take the time to at least thank them. You don't have to pay for a meal if you don't want to but at least thank them. Let them know how grateful you are for their sacrifice and for the sacrifice of their families. It makes a difference.

Love from the Preacher and I

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

People of the High Plains

I do believe the Preacher and I are becoming people of the high plains.

Let me explain. We moved ten years ago from south Florida where there are trees everywhere. If they cut trees down to make way for a new store or housing division they replant the trees. Here in the plains the trees are few and far between. If they cut one down they don't replant one.

There are several people who were born and raised out here and they have told us that they don't like to go out east because the trees are so thick that you can't see what's on the other side. I always thought, when I heard this, how can you not like trees?

Then we traveled to Georgia to attend our son's graduation from basic training. In Georgia the trees line the highways. Trying to find what is at an exit before actually exiting is impossible. So while driving to Columbus from Atlanta, we were trying to find an exit that had some restaurants close to the exit. Not being able to see for the trees, the Preacher kept saying, "If it wasn't for all of these trees we could see something!" right then and there I knew we had become people of the high plains!

Love from the Preacher and I

Sunday, March 1, 2015

how to make a house a home

While driving to Cheyenne Wells last Tuesday, I began to notice just how many old homesteads there are here on the plains. Old homes that are abandoned and decaying. Where did the people go? Did the people lose their house and land due to economic struggles? Did the children grow up and move leaving no one to help keep the farm going? Did the harsh winters and summers drive the family out of the plains and on to someplace more hospitable? You wonder while looking at these old homes.

I wonder about the family that once lived there. I'm sure that once upon a time that house was loved and if the walls could talk, they would tell you of all of the wonderful memories that were made there.

 I enjoy watching HGTV. I have watched this network since our cable company in Florida offered it as part of our package, back in the late '90's. Before that, my son and I would watch the all decorating shows the the Discovery Channel had to offer. 

 After watching a few shows, I would ask my son if he would like to help me rearrange our living room. He would first make a drawing of how he thought we should move the furniture and then the both of us would start moving everything around. We had so much fun working together on our home.

While watching HGTV's House Hunter's the other night, I began thinking about how some people enjoy looking for smaller homes and others feel the need to have a big home. I think the people were saying that the home they live in they have outgrown because of their family getting larger. I then began to hope that they would get the smaller of the three homes they had looked at because I knew that in just a few short years that home was going to be way to big for them.

I started thinking about the home we live in right now. It is big! We built our home 10 years ago and at the time it seemed to be just the right size. But as time goes on life changes, as it always does. My mother-in-law, who was living with us, has passed away (you can read about her here) and our son has joined the Army. Now it's just the Preacher and I (and one cat and one dog). We would love to "down-size" and get something a little smaller. 
Our log home here on the plains of Colorado
The Preacher and I have lived in many different types of houses. We have lived in everything from a tent, an apartment, a camper trailer and a house to a log cabin. In everyone of them we have made memories that we will always cherish. 

I think that that is the most important lesson to be learned here. Make memories in your house, design that house just the way you like it, paint or wallpaper the walls, move the furniture around, make family meals, and most importantly love those that live there! When you do these things you have just made that house into a home.

Update: Since this post was first published we have moved again into a smaller home that is in the city limits. And also we only have the cat. Our Max passed away and our Sarg went to live with our son. So a smaller home is better for us now. But we are still making memories and making it our home.